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The Journal Keeper is a memoir of six years in writer Phyllis Theroux’s life. A natural storyteller, she slips her arm companionably into yours like an old friend just going for a stroll. But Theroux’s stride is long and her eyes sharp, and she swings easily between subjects that occupy us all: love, loneliness, growing old, financial worries, spiritual growth, and watching her remarkable mother prepare for death.
As Theroux invites us to walk along with her, the path brings new friends, worries, and revelations. Her home opens to us as easily as to her countless friends and neighbors, and each turn of the page brings another impromptu “hello” that quickly becomes three hours of shared laughter. But despite the ease with which Theroux moves on to the thoughts of a new day, the common thread is the joy she finds in quiet moments with pen and paper. It’s a joy sometimes threatened by worries caused by a dwindling bank account or fears of the future, but ultimately reinvigorated by the thrill of new discoveries and pearls of old wisdom.
A gripping tale in journal form, The Journal Keeper is a rich feast from the writing life—with an unexpected twist. After the death of her beloved mother leaves Theroux with an emptiness that feels impossible to fill, she finds the love that she believed was closed to a woman of her age. This new relationship restores Theroux’s belief in life’s never-ending capacity for surprise.
Not until Theroux sat down to edit her journals for publication did she realize, in her words, “that a hand much larger and more knowing than my own was guiding my life and pen across the page.” She makes a good case for this being true for us all.
By Phyllis Theroux
Paperback : 304 pages
Grove Press : Published March 2011